Silicon Valley Home Girl
Culture, Demographics, OneWorldCities

Silicon Valley Home Girl

By Sharon Simonson Hometown. Homespun. Home run. Home cooking. Homecoming. Homestead. Homebound. Home girl. Phone home. Homeward. Homemade. Mi casa es su casa. Homey. Homeless. Is there home away from home? I’ve begun to clear the dust from behind the closed doors of my corona addled mind. I, like so many others, have gloried in the beauty of the spring, a beauty that people worldwide have viewed through vastly clearer air. You don’t have to be that thoughtful to see the unpleasant irony of such a vital display of re-birth amidst pandemic death. I’m going to make a prediction, though perhaps it is more fledgling hope: after three or four or however many months mostly in our homes, yards and neighborhoods, Americans are going to feel differently about caring for them. Yes, for some it will ...
Pew: Foreign Students Migrate to Bay Area
Demographics, Immigration

Pew: Foreign Students Migrate to Bay Area

By Sharon Simonson Not wildfires, mudslides, or monster commutes; not overcrowded and expensive housing or gender-challenged workplaces. Nothing—so far—can keep them away: foreign students seeking U.S. college degrees and work experience at American companies have flocked to the Bay Area in recent years—more than to any other place in the country except New York City. According to new research from the Pew Research Center based on more than a decade of student-visa data, the Silicon Valley and San Francisco metros rank among the top ten destinations for foreign students earning American university degrees and staying to work.  Including the more than 77,000 foreign students who migrated to the region for employment after earning degrees in other U.S. cities, the Bay Area attracted mor...
Rebirth in Silicon Valley
Culture, Demographics

Rebirth in Silicon Valley

By Sharon Simonson If Peter Thiel wants to leave Silicon Valley, I say, “Peter, bon voyage.” If you don’t know who Peter Thiel is, this story is for you. (Peter Thiel is a very rich Hollywood venture capitalist.) According to Peter, Silicon Valley is done. It has become an echo chamber talking itself into oblivion. Dear Universe, Peter Thiel and his ilk are distant satellites that orbit the real Earth that is Silicon Valley. HBO’s Silicon Valley and the myopic coverage of the national news media reinforce his tunnel vision. But technologists such as Mr. Thiel are not the majority. Life in Silicon Valley is much bigger, much richer, much more complex and interesting than Peter Thiel or the intricacies of Facebook, Google, and Apple. Okay, okay, it’s true: tech companies ...
San José Pulitzer Winner Viet Thanh Nguyen: We Are What We Write
Culture, Demographics, Immigration

San José Pulitzer Winner Viet Thanh Nguyen: We Are What We Write

By Sharon Simonson When seven-year-old Viet Thanh Nguyen arrived in San José with his parents and older brother in 1978 as a Vietnam War refugee, little did he know that his life’s next decade would form the basis of a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel nearly forty years later. It was in the tiny downtown San José house at 759 S. 10th Street in the shadow of a freeway overpass that a robber would hold him and his parents at gunpoint when he was sixteen-years-old. It was in his parents’ New Saigon Mini Market on downtown San José’s East Santa Clara Street where his parents were shot one Christmas Eve. Thankfully, neither was injured seriously. “That ten-year period was marked by witnessing the intense sacrifice that my parents gave working as hard as they did in that store and exper...
Little Cesar Chavez Chapel in the Parking Lot
Culture, Demographics, OneWorldCities

Little Cesar Chavez Chapel in the Parking Lot

window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);} gtag('js', new Date()); gtag('config', 'UA-166654327-1'); Was this the right place? The National Historic Landmark dedicated a mere twelve months ago to Cesar Chavez, the most significant Latino leader in the United States in the twentieth century? Was this 2020 East San Antonio Street, San Jose, Silicon Valley? Was that the chapel building where the farm worker movement began? Where Chavez spent five early years, his spirit fired by Catholic faith and his mind by the community organizing talents of Saul Alinsky? Was that it, hemmed round by a trash-strewn parking lot in which desperate people had created huddled shelters? What the hell was going on? By Sharon Simonson A bronze marker i...
San Jose Author: Being Vietnamese in America Not So ‘Eazy’
Demographics, Events

San Jose Author: Being Vietnamese in America Not So ‘Eazy’

By Sharon Simonson SAN JOSE—For Vietnamese-American author Trami Nguyen Cron, the irony weighs heavy. Vietnamese people, whether refugees or immigrants, typically have fled their homeland for the United States in pursuit of freedom for themselves and their families. But once resettled, they seek to control their children’s lives to an extraordinary degree, essentially robbing the children of the very freedom the parents often sacrificed much to gain. “Vietnamese people need to stop defining success as how much money you make or your professional title,” she says. “One of my challenges to my culture is to rethink its definition of success.” That is the primary message—but in no way the only one—she hopes to send with her first novel, “VietnamEazy,” released today by publishe...
Judge: Former Councilmember Madison Nguyen Guilty of ‘Political Miscalculation,’ Not Misconduct
Demographics, Immigration

Judge: Former Councilmember Madison Nguyen Guilty of ‘Political Miscalculation,’ Not Misconduct

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Vincent J. Chiarello says San Jose City has had consistent open-meeting act problems when council people issue joint memorandum in anticipation of a vote; some violations are inadvertent, but under the law, it doesn't matter. By Sharon Simonson SAN JOSE—The Vietnamese American Community of Northern California has failed to persuade a state judge that former San Jose City Councilwoman Madison Nguyen and her council colleagues knowingly broke state open-meeting law in the days before a contentious 2007 vote to name a Vietnamese business district. But she and five other council people did unintentionally breach the Brown Act, Superior Court Judge Vincent J. Chiarello concluded in a tentative ruling. Moreover, while city attorneys argue the...